Nope, Toyota has not cracked the enigma of scalable solid-state battery production, contrary to their previous claims. Positioned tardily in the electric vehicle landscape, Toyota faces a substantial challenge in catching up to industry frontrunners such as Tesla let alone the Chinese electric car industry. Significant efforts are imperative for Toyota to bridge the gap and attain competitiveness in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle market.
Nonetheless, Toyota is embarking on its initial foray to enhance its standing in the electric car arena by collaborating with the Japanese petrochemical giant, Idemitsu Kosan, to pioneer cutting-edge solid-state batteries. Considered the holy grail among battery types, solid-state batteries hold the potential to become the one battery technology to rule them all.
Solid-state batteries boast superior energy density compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries, are lighter, and provide more robust charging cycles, thereby substantially extending the range for electric vehicles. Nevertheless, the production costs are significantly higher, and achieving stability and integrity in solid-state battery technology remains a formidable challenge at present.
However, Toyota’s partnership with Idemitsu Kosan is targeting a fully commercialised solid-state battery production in 2027-2028. We wish them luck. According to industry analysts, Toyota is planning two variants of solid-state batteries. Toyota predicts a range of 621 is feasible and a recharge time from 10-80 percent is a distinct possibility. But these figures are just projections based on very little real-world data.
Idemitsu initiated research on solid-state battery technology in 2001, followed by Toyota in 2006. The two companies have collaboratively established a joint task force geared for mass-scale production and commercialization. However, a significant hurdle looms as neither company has yet unveiled a major breakthrough in solid-state battery development, a crucial step toward paving the way on the proverbial yellow-brick road for mass-scale production readiness.
It is highly improbable that Toyota and Idemitsu will announce a groundbreaking advancement in the commercialization of solid-state batteries by 2027 or 2028. The probable outcome is that solid-state battery technology may follow a trajectory similar to graphene, reminiscent of the initial hype surrounding graphene as the wonder material destined to dominate all others.
Establishing a joint committee may not necessarily convey a positive signal; it could be perceived as a symbolic effort by both companies to address the widely discussed issue of climate change. In essence, it appears to be a corporate psyop, suggesting a strategic move rather than a genuine commitment to addressing climate concerns.